Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 381–398 | Cite as

Religion/Spirituality and Adolescent Psychiatric Symptoms: A Review

  • Rachel Elizabeth DewEmail author
  • Stephanie S. Daniel
  • Tonya D. Armstrong
  • David B. Goldston
  • Mary Frances Triplett
  • Harold G. Koenig
Substantive/Theoretical Review


The aim of the current article is to review the literature on religion and spirituality as it pertains to adolescent psychiatric symptoms. One hundred and fifteen articles were reviewed that examined relationships between religion/spirituality and adolescent substance use, delinquency, depression, suicidality, and anxiety. Ninety-two percent of articles reviewed found at least one significant (p < .05) relationship between religiousness and better mental health. Evidence for relationships between greater religiousness and less psychopathology was strongest in the area of teenage substance use. Methods of measuring religion/spirituality were highly heterogeneous. Further research on the relationship of religion/spirituality to delinquency, depression, suicidality, and anxiety is warranted. Measurement recommendations, research priorities, and clinical implications are discussed.


Religion Spirituality Adolescents Mental health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Elizabeth Dew
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Stephanie S. Daniel
    • 3
    • 4
  • Tonya D. Armstrong
    • 5
  • David B. Goldston
    • 1
  • Mary Frances Triplett
    • 3
  • Harold G. Koenig
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.DurhamUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Wake Forest University Baptist Medical CenterWinston-SalemUSA
  4. 4.Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships, University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA
  5. 5.Duke Divinity SchoolDurhamUSA
  6. 6.Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center Veterans Administration Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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